Primo with Patio Dining

3800 W. Starr Pass Boulevard · Tucson, Arizona 85745 USA

Primo with Patio Dining

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Chef & Staff Profiles

Chef Kelly's philosophy is simple yet earth-changing. By putting in the effort to find the freshest, finest ingredients grown by sound and sustainable efforts, the dishes she creates have a dynamic flavor as lively and rich as the traditions from which they stem.

Chef Roderick LeDesma

Chef Rod is Primo’s Chef de Cuisine. He is an Arizona native and University of Arizona grad who has been in the culinary industry most of his life. He moved up the ranks in Primo Tucson before moving to Maine to work directly with Chef Melissa Kelly. After almost a year there he moved back to Primo Tucson as the Chef de Cuisine.

Chef loves what he does because it is a creative outlet to him and allows him to make something out of nothing. His favorite meal is Lasagna and Meatballs but he loves to cook anything! He loves a good challenge.


Mediterranean Women Stay Slim, Too: Eating To Be Sexy, Fit, and Fabulous!


More than a collection of favorite Primo recipes, this book focuses on the Mediterranean lifestyle. With a refreshing new outlook on food and the role it plays in our lives, readers learn Melissa’s unique approach to planting, gardening and cooking. Encouraging the reader to understand the “where and how” our food reaches the kitchen, she uncovers the importance food plays in our lives and the dramatic impact each of us can have by understanding the importance of our local growers and farms in creating quality products.


The freshest of ingredients, prepared with an Italian sensibility, and enjoyed alongside friends and family… the Primo lifestyle can now be reproduced in your own home. Purchase books online or at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.


James Beard Award-winning Chef, Melissa Kelly, grew up on Long Island, taking her earliest cooking lessons in her Italian grandmother's kitchen. Named after Kelly’s Italian grandfather, Primo is the creation of Chef Kelly and her partner, husband and pastry chef, Price Kushner. The original Primo was founded in Rockland, Maine, and in 2003 they opened Primo at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida. It was a huge honor for all of us at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa to become the site of her third Primo restaurant.


Melissa Kelly was the 1999 James Beard Foundation Awards winner of the American Express Best Chef, Northeast Award. She was also nominated in 1998. First in her 1988 graduating class from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Melissa earned both the Richard T. Keating Award and the American Hotel Foundation Scholarship. She also received two CIA scholarships for scholastic achievement. Prior to attending the Culinary Institute, Melissa studied business administration at SUNY Farmingdale, New York and at the University of Maine. Melissa's post-graduate education took place in some of the top restaurant kitchens in the country.

Primo with Patio Dining